A little boy cries in restlessness as he waits in the doctor’s office with his mother. He is unsure what will happen once his name is called, and is scared. To calm her son, the mother pulls out her recent children’s book purchase called, “Doctor, Doctor, What Do You Do?” to read with her son.
In this book he learns about the various people he would encounter at the doctor’s office or hospital.
He feels less anxious because he has gained a better understanding of what to expect during his visit.
Certified child life specialist, registered nurse and University of La Verne alumna Meghan Mack published her first children’s book last February to educate children about what happens when going to the doctor’s office or hospital.
After earning her master’s degree in child life from La Verne in January 2014, Mack had trouble finding a job.
She wanted to be able to contribute to her field of study and help children, while using her flair for writing.
Inspired by a project from her graduate studies for which she wrote a children’s book about hair loss, Mack began to ponder the idea of writing another book.
“I wanted something very general that all kids could relate to and all kids at some point in time have to go to the doctor’s office and many of them go to the hospital,” Mack said.
“The biggest goal of child life is to reduce anxiety and increase understanding so I thought something that would fit all children would be that they don’t know who they are going to meet at the hospital and they don’t know the roles that all these people play.”
To help bring her self-published book to life, Mack set up a Kickstarter page last January and in less than a month had received full funding. Her ultimate goal is for her book to be sponsored by a hospital or health care provider to help reach the hands of children who could use it on a global scale.
“My book will be able to impact kids just by allowing them to know a little bit more about the medical field and could raise interest in these careers,” Mack said.
“You never know what jobs or dreams they may have in their own hearts and they can see that in the book while also helping to decrease their anxiety when they do go to the hospital.”
When creating her book, it was important that she included diversity in illustrations of her characters. Mack, who is African American, said she did not see characters that looked like her in books. She wants every child who reads her book to be able to see someone who looks similar to them.
“I am looking forward to being able to use it in my practice and share it with other members of the medical team, especially other child life specialists,” Morinsola Keshinro, certified child life specialist and ULV alumna, said.
“It’s going to be a really engaging way to educate patients and their family members. With her use of diverse characters and rhyming style, it makes for the perfect school age book.”
Keshinro met Mack when she was starting her graduate program, and has maintained a friendship since graduating together.
“The most inspiring thing about Meghan is she’s always had a talent for being creative and a wonderful writer and she’s definitely passionate about people,” Keshinro said.
It took Mack some time to discover her calling in child life. She graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch with a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing in 2011. Mack found that although she enjoyed being in health care and working with children, the clinical role was not for her.
“One of my instructors told me I’m really good at talking to people and calming them down,” Mack said. “This was before I knew what child life was, but when I discovered it, it was like a light bulb went off, and I thought, ‘This is what I’m meant for.’”
Mack plans to release French and Spanish versions of her book to give more children access. She plans on coming out with more children’s books that touch on important subjects such as confidence.
“I am happy to have had the opportunity to invest in such a useful book,” said Callie Heintzman, child life graduate from the University of Georgia.
“I read it to my 4-year-old niece the other day and she loved it. I hope this book gains more and more recognition and is used by child life specialists all over; it’ll be fun to remember when the book was just a Kickstarter campaign.”
“Doctor, Doctor, What Do You Do?” can be purchased online through Mack’s shop on Etsy.com. Her book also has a page on Facebook and an Instagram account @docdocwdyd.
Jennifer Jackson can be reached at email@example.com.